November 7, 2006
Contact Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
UMDNJ Professor Receives National Health Advocacy Award
NEW BRUNSWICK — Dr. Adam M. Finkel, of Pennington, a professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, received the prestigious David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health from the American Public Health Association (APHA), during the organization’s 134th annual meeting, on Sunday, Nov. 5, in Boston. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to public health through science-based advocacy.
Dr. Finkel, who is one of the nation’s leading experts in risk assessment for environmental and occupational health, is a former Rocky Mountain regional administrator of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 2002, Dr. Finkel became aware that many OSHA inspectors had been exposed to high levels of beryllium, a toxic metal that can cause an often-fatal lung disease. He went public with his findings after then U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary John Henshaw refused to allow the inspectors to be informed of their risk or to provide blood screening tests for early signs of the disease. As a result, Dr. Finkel was removed as regional director, but the publication of his findings led to a medical monitoring program for OSHA inspectors.
While at OSHA, Dr. Finkel also was responsible for promulgating and evaluating regulations to protect the nation’s workers from chemical, radiological, and biological hazards. He negotiated several national “regulatory partnerships” bringing manufacturers, customers, and labor unions together to provide improved worker protections beyond what could have been achieved by command-and-control regulation.
Dr. Finkel is a nationally recognized expert who has testified before Congress 11 times on federal research priorities, the environmental impact of pesticide use and air toxic hazards. In the late 1980s, he was the first researcher to develop an epidemiologic estimate of the extent of variation in human susceptibility to carcinogenic substances. Dr. Finkel is the author of more than 40 articles on risk assessment and management and is the co-author of Worst Things First - The Debate over Risk-based National Environmental Priorities.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.